JOB: U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
UH-OH: A federal court of appeals judge in Boston, Breyer, 55, told the White House during the vetting process that he had not paid taxes for his cleaning woman of the last 13 years.
THE MESS: Breyer was summoned from a hospital room, where he was recovering from a bicycle accident, to meet with Clinton on June 11. A presidential aide later said that Clinton and Breyer were “not on the same wavelength.”
THE SPIN: Shortly thereafter, Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsberg for the post. At a presidential press conference, Clinton was accused by ABC’s Brit Hume of having “a zigzag quality in the decision-making process.” The President abruptly ended the conference.
THE PAY-UP: $3,000 in back Social Security taxes
REFLECTIONS: Still at the federal appeals bench, Breyer says of his Social Security faux pas, “I’m not sure there was really a problem. We’re talking about [the employment of] an 81-year-old woman.”
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN
JOB: Governor of New Jersey.
UH-OH: While watching Zoe Baird’s nomination sink last January, Whitman, 47, said it “jarred a memory.” She suddenly recalled that the Portuguese couple who had worked for her family for more than six years had been illegal aliens for part of that time.
THE SPIN: Acknowledging that she had made a “serious mistake,” she said,” was clearly acting more like a parent in search of capable child care than as a candidate for elective office.”
THE PAY-UP: $25,000 in taxes and fines.
WHAT NOW?: Allegations that her campaign made payoffs to keep black voters from the polls clouded Whitman’s narrow upset victory over Democratic incumbent Jim Florio.
JOB: U.S. Attorney General.
UH-OH: Baird and her husband, Yale Law School professor Paul Gewirtz, hired two Peruvian illegal immigrants to care for their young son and to work as a part-time chauffeur while she was employed as the $507,000-a-year general counsel of Aetna Life & Casualty Co.
THE MESS: After a Jan. 21 grilling by Congress and dwindling support from women and liberals, Baird, 41, withdrew, saying that she was “surprised at the extent of public reaction.”
THE PAY-UP: $16,000 in taxes and fines.
CONSOLATION PRIZE: Baird was appointed to an unpaid seat on Clinton’s 12-person Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which meets occasionally to consider questions of national security.
JOB: Secretary of Commerce.
UH-OH: Asked on Meet the Press Feb. 7 about domestic help, the Secretary admitted he hadn’t paid withholding tax on his cleaning lady for the last four years.
THE MESS: What mess? The question of domestic help “did not come up during the nomination process,” Brown, 52, said, though he inspired a Jay Leno joke: “If Clinton could just get his friends and associates to pay into Social Security, maybe he wouldn’t have to cut ours.”
REFLECTIONS: The Secretary once said his ethics were a matter of character, not law: “I will never be an unethical person, whether there are rules or no rules.”
JOB: U.S. Attorney General.
UH-OH: On Feb. 5, the day after the White House leaked that Wood was the leading candidate, it decided that the Manhattan federal judge was ineligible because she had hired an illegal alien as a baby-sitter in early 1986—though it wasn’t prohibited at the time.
THE MESS: Wood, 49, hadn’t broken any laws, but Clinton said that the question was ethical, not legal: “[She] has a special standard to meet in this area that other Cabinet members do not.”
THE REBOUND: Wood made it clear that she was being held to an impossible standard: “I did not mislead anyone at any point, and I have obeyed all laws.” Some wondered if her five-day stint as a Playboy bunny trainee while at college in London figured in Clinton’s dissatisfaction.
JOB: Deputy Attorney General.
UH-OH: The wheelchair-bound Washington lawyer failed to pay taxes for his 71-year-old cleaning woman.
THE MESS: The White House dropped him from consideration as soon as it was found out he had a problem with domestic help.
THE PAY-UP: $3,300 in back Social Security taxes.
REFLECTIONS: Says Ruff, 54: “I don’t think I was treated unfairly. I’m not going to talk about it now.”